Endless aisle leads to endless possibilities

April 8, 2011 | by Tim Dreyer

Critical to the success of any retail operation is the relationship between inventory and customer demand. Customer loyalty, which hinges on ensuring customers have access to the product they want when they want it, is essential as more retailers offer products at increasingly competitive prices. With the increase in kiosks and self-service, simultaneously managing inventory and enhancing the customer experience from the beginning to end of his shopping experience can be easier than ever.

Take, for example, the concept of "endless aisle" applications, which extend inventory beyond what is physically in the store. This application allows customers to visit a kiosk and find the exact location of the product they are looking for without the assistance of a customer service associate. If the product is out of stock, customers can purchase the product and have it shipped to their homes, resulting in instant satisfaction. This virtually transforms the way retailers manage inventory.

One of the world's largest producers of outdoor-power products deployed an endless aisle solution kiosk for one of its national big-box retailers, who could not physically stock every single part for every type of outdoor lawn equipment they offer. Because they did not have all these parts readily available, both the retailer and vendor suffered loss of revenues and sales from products not stocked in-store.

With Meridian's endless aisle solution, the vendor was able to provide the retailer with a kiosk system that housed a database with any product or part related to its outdoor power equipment, amounting to more than 80,000 SKUs. This solution enabled the vendor to sell its entire product line in a very streamlined, cost-effective manner.

Meridian also integrated a loyalty card tie-in, which allows the customer to swipe his loyalty card and instantly view past purchases, eliminating the process of searching for the same product every time and providing an opportunity for the retailer and the vendor to increase revenue through up-sells.

The customer experience capabilities of kiosks continue to evolve everyday as retailers look for ways to help the consumer shape his own shopping experience. Solutions, like the endless aisle, not only allow retailers to transform the way they stock the retail floor but also build customer loyalty in the process.

Topics: Full Service / Turnkey Provider , Kiosk ROI , Retail

Companies: Zebra Technologies , Meridian

Tim Dreyer / Dreyer has extensive experience working for companies, including Motorola, Aerial Communications and NEC. As public relations and social media manager for Zebra Technologies, he develops the messaging for the company’s asset tracking solutions.

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